And She Persisted

By Hanan Awaad

Hanan Awaad President Corporita Consulting Inc.
Hanan Awaad
President
Corporita Consulting Inc.

For Corporita Magazine, this day is a special day as March 8th marks our anniversary. In this day last year, we gathered at the City Hall to announce the launch of the magazine. This year, with many events, were organized to honour the International Women’s Day, I decided to attend one particular event: Nevertheless, She Persisted organized by Next Generation Waterloo Region  (http://www.nextgenwr.com/).

Michelle Sutherland, the Executive Director of the White Owl Ancestry Association, reminded us all of our first mother; the land. Her story about finding a mother touched my heart and made me think of the blessing of having mothers or mother figures in one’s life. Fauzia Mazhar summarized in her speech the struggles Muslim women face in the west. Later, Dr. Laura Mae Lindo, Professor and the Director of Diversity and Equity at the Diversity and Equity Office at Wilfred Laurie University, shared her personal story to become a member of academia despite the systematic discrimination based on colour and ethnicity.

The event had a high turnout and strong local support. Hon. Bardish Chagger, Mayors Dave Jaworsky and Berry Vrbanovic and MP Raj Saini attended the event and showed their support by participating in the writing names project,’Unsilencing the Number’ in support of our missing Indigenous sisters.

The stories were inspiring and made me re-live a beautiful nostalgic moment, when I founded Corporita Inc. to share my expertise and knowledge with the world; and created Corporita Magazine to be a platform for all career, professional and business women, not only to share stories but also to learn real skills (soft and hard) to pave their way to success.

The common factor of all the stories I heard and read is persistence. All successful men and women experienced failure, and in many cases, success had no coherent definition. But, they live and love; they try and try; they appreciate the light and the darkness, and they always give it their best. I believe that those who choose to victimize themselves never reach a destination or enjoy the journey. They understand that sometimes things get messy and complicated, but they have the courage to embrace the tough situations and rejoice in the process.

The NextGen Waterloo Region's "Nevertheless, She Persisted" International Women's Day event at Kitchener City Hall
The NextGen Waterloo Region’s “Nevertheless, She Persisted” International Women’s Day event at Kitchener City Hall

I also believe that we all live with internal moulds, and we need to break those moulds first before demanding others to change the way they perceive and treat us. If one of your dreams shatters, you still have the ability to close your eyes and dream another dream, then open your eyes wide open and extend your arms to reach out to catch it. Sometimes you need to work hard, sometimes you need to make allies, sometimes you need to think new thoughts, but always you need to keep moving.

 When I decided to study mechanical engineering, I was the only girl that year to decide to apply for that department. At the registration office, two employees tried to talk me out of it. The first class I attended, I was insulted by the professor and my classmates. My first job was in a manufacturing facility that has no females other than the cat in the kitchen.

When I worked in consulting, I was paid less than a half of what my colleague sitting next to me, and I was not legible for health insurance as I ‘dependent’ on my husband. I was not paid commotion on top of my salary like other engineers who go out and assist in the sales presentation. My manager said to me, consider that training.

When I relocated to Canada, although I did not have the typical barriers like language and cultural baggage, I lived in my inner mould for a couple of months. Only when I broke my internal mould, I was able to address all the stereotypes without saying a word and without victimizing myself.

In the end, history is made by those who never settle down for mediocre realities.

 

Originally posted 2017-03-14 16:53:55.

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